PLEDGEWORTHY: August/September News

The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict and our members are working hard to prevent sexual violence, protect survivors and prosecute perpetrators. Together we are making an impact. Share our news with your friends and invite them to pledge their support to the Campaign! 


Campaigners in Action: Delhi, India

15421212612_15e590227d_k.141559.jpgIn September, the Campaign traveled to India to join forces with Indian activists and international human rights organization Breakthrough.

During our delegation to India, the Campaign called on the Indian government to endorse the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Youth to End Sexual Violence, a new Campaign member, took up the call and mobilized youth from around the world to urge Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to show global leadership in the struggle to end sexual violence in conflict. Youth to End Sexual Violence also announced its new Youth Ambassador for India, Meera Vijayann.

On September 29, the Campaign and Breakthrough co-hosted a conversation on the global movement to end violence against women, featuring Campaign co-chairs Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams. The two Nobel peace laureates discussed How Women Are Mobilizing to End Violence Against Women & Transform the World before a packed crowd of Indian and international activists. Youth to End Sexual Violence’s new Indian Youth Ambassador led a follow-up Twitter discussion the day after our event, adding insightful and powerful youth perspectives to the mix.

For more information on our Delhi event, read Youth to End Sexual Violence’s recap of our event with Breakthrough, check out our favourite photos of the event and our event on Storify.

Country in Focus: India 

"Dignity of women is our collective responsibility. There should be no compromise in this matter,” said Indian President Narendra Modi last month. Indian and international activists are responding with calls for their government to turn bold statements into concrete action to end rape and impunity.

The movement to end sexual violence in India gained significant momentum following a series of high profile cases of rape and gender violence, including the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a Delhi bus, as well the rape and hanging of two teenage girls in 2014.

Every day 92 women are raped in India, according to the India’s National Crime Bureau. Rates of rape are at a record high in the capital, Delhi. Breakthrough’s recent survey of women in six Indian states reveals that 91 percent of women and girls in India face sexual harassment in their lifetime.

From university campuses to villages across the country, Indians are raising their voices in support of survivors and urging their government to end impunity for perpetrators.

In the News

Colombia: Colombia’s Mariposas (“Butterflies”) women’s rights network is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Nansen Refugee award for their work to protect women from gang warfare, including sexual violence. Since it was established in 2010, Mariposas has helped an estimated 1,000 women and their families.

Iraq: Continuing acts of violence by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in Iraq may include forcing up to 1,500 Yazidis and Christians into sexual slavery, according to a new United Nations report. Nickolay Mladenov and Zainab Hawa Bangura—the special representatives of the Secretary-General in Iraq and on Sexual Violence in Conflict, respectively—condemned the violence in a joint statement.

Somalia: Somali and International activists want decisive action to address reports that African Union troops sexually abused and exploited women and girls on their bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Human Rights Watch released a report detailing sexual violence crimes committed by groups from the African Union Mission in Somalia going back to 2013.

International: The Arms Trade Treaty entered into force with its 50th ratification: a key element of international strategy to end sexual violence in conflict. The treaty now has 53 ratifications and is the first treaty to regulate the international arms trade.

From Our Members

The Campaign was in New York in September for the United Nations General Assembly, where we met with key international policymakers and civil society organizers. Campaign co-chair Jody Williams and other Campaign members met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, to discuss how the international community can end rape & gender violence through collective, comprehensive action. Many of our meetings focused on support for Congolese Campaign members: essential follow-up from our #CongoWomenSpeak delegation to eastern DRC earlier this year.

MADRE released an open letter calling on the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to advise its investigative team in Iraq to include the voices of local women’s groups and survivors in its diplomatic efforts, tackle sexual violence by the Iraqi military, and push for changes to discriminatory laws and norms in Iraq.

SOFEPADI Director Julienne Lusenge reports ongoing violence in DRC. In August, unidentified soldiers raped more than 20 children in Kavumu, located in DRC’s Kabare territory. Ongoing attacks on Pygmy populations have left estimated 65 individuals displaced in Oicha, and SOFPADI is working to secure support for them from Oicha authorities. Julienne also reported that recent violence in Beni has left 27 dead and 9 seriously injured. 

Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre’s Maha Babeker participated in Nobel Women’s Initiative’s Sister-to-Sister mentorship program to develop activist organizing skills, attend meetings with key policymakers and civil society organizations, and bring the stories of Sudanese women human rights defenders to international audiences.

The Campaign released a briefing paper on our 2014 delegation to eastern DRC, sharing stories and messages from women activists on the front lines of the struggle to end sexual violence in DRC and establish a lasting peace.

Looking Ahead

The Campaign is gearing up for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence from November 25 to December 10. Stay tuned for profiles of phenomenal activists and survivors united for action to stop rape in conflict, as well as opportunities to take action with the Campaign!

Follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for news on activism to stop rape & gender violence, Campaign updates and opportunities to get involved.


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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 430, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7 Canada    Phone: +1.613.569.8400    Fax: +1.613.691.1419

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